Practicing Self-Care in a Scary Time

I don’t have to be the one to say how hard it’s been to stay positive recently. There’s no way to express the heaviness in the air since Jan 20. With every headline, every tweet, and every link shared, it’s hard to find hope to hold onto.

But I don’t need to talk about how messed up everything is right now. There’s enough of that online right now and that’s not the purpose of this post.

I’ve been spending the past few weeks trying to build a new and healthy routine. I’m unemployed and in a new city so I’ve had to make an extra effort to stick to a schedule that get’s me up and moving every day. It’s been tough but I think I’m starting to get into the groove of it and I’ve already noticed a healthier frame of mind.

So here are some things I’ve been doing to take care of myself these days (and maybe they might help you, too!):

  1. I try to head to bed around 10. Nights are always the hardest for me, mentally. As I wind down for bed, my defenses drop and my brain starts slipping towards the Dark Places; so it’s best for me to head to bed earlier, still high on the day, to shorten my wind-down time so I can get some primo rest.

  2. I keep my blinds open so I can wake up naturally to the morning light (I know, I’m spoiled by living in one of the sunniest cities in the country and not having a job to wake up for). I’m usually up and awake by 7:45.

  3. I shower, brush my teeth, get dressed, and have breakfast while listening to my favorite music or a new podcast. This gets me in the headspace that I’m a normal and functioning human and I start the day with discovery and immersing in something new which almost always gets me pumped about life.

  4. I like to spend my mornings doing something thoughtful or creative. It usually involves reading a few chapters of a book (I just finished the Steve Jobs bio and I’m inspired, let me tell ya), writing with no rules, doodling with a soundtrack, or working on my new little side project. (I’m super stoked about my morning routine, but I’ll save that spiel until another time.)

  5. After my morning warm-up, I walk to a local coffee shop. I love being outside and I’m lucky enough to live in a neighborhood with three third-wave (hipster) coffee shops within an easy mile walk. I’m intentional about not putting in headphones on my “commute.” I usually use this time to chat with Mom or just take in the environment I’m in.

  6. I leave my phone on Do Not Disturb from the time I go to bed until my morning coffee so that I’m not distracted from my morning ritual.

  7. I’ve also deleted the Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone. This has been a biggie. My bored auto-response has been to do a grand tour of my social media apps, doing laps until refreshing my feed leaves me nothing new. That means filling every spare moment reading negatively-charged posts and comments. And that just isn’t healthy for me. I haven’t deleted my accounts—but I’ve made it just hard enough to stop me from that unconscious routine making each visit to the sites more intentional.

  8. Weekends are a time to rest and recharge. For me, that means physically going somewhere out of the house and staying offline. (I spent last weekend on a beach with no cell service and it was amazing—at school, I would go for a drive in the mountains or a hike with friends.) There is something about being in a place of new sounds and textures that never fails to refresh my spirit.

These are just some of the things I’ve been practicing and I’m constantly trying new things.

Y’all, it’s so important for us to be alive and healthy—especially now. Now more than ever we need to love and fight for one another, but we need to make sure we are healthy enough to do so.